Background In September 2018, a Community Engagement Schools and Colleges Co-ordinator was recruited to set up and deliver a new educational outreach service. With a background in teaching, the Co-ordinator recognised the value and potential of linking the work of the hospice to National Curriculum objectives that would support and enrich learning inside and out of the classroom.
Aims To strengthen collaborative working with schools, colleges and youth organisations within the catchment area; to promote awareness of the work of the hospice, the hospice movement in general and palliative and end of life care.
Methods October 2018: research began into schools and colleges work currently on offer by other hospices. Professional links made. November 2018: marketing materials developed. Co-ordinator searched National Curriculum documents and Schemes of Work to see where educational links could be made. December 2018: educational pack developed for primary schools to include curriculum-based assemblies, lessons or group talks. January–March 2019: in-house schools visits and projects investigated and developed to encourage young people to visit the hospice.
Results Between January-July 2019, the Co-ordinator attended over 20 local schools for assemblies and talks. Awareness is growing for the new service and future bookings are being made for the 2019/20 academic year. From March to June 2019 three pilot in-house schools projects took place where children worked with day services patients. Initial evaluations from patients, teachers, children and parents has been extremely positive, with patients asking to sign up again.
Conclusions Through our educational outreach, we are not only educating our next generation on what modern day hospice care is, but it has the potential to dispel myths and change wider public perception. Based on initial positive feedback, next steps are to embed the Primary service and extend out to Secondary schools through talks, enterprise initiatives or community projects.
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